Emergence of a new generation of educational planners: national training programme in Afghanistan

Since 2002, the Afghanistan Ministry of Education (MoE) has facilitated access to education for more than nine million students and millions of illiterate adults. Yet, 3.7 million students remain out of school and more than 10 million adults are illiterate, with significant enduring gender and geographical disparities in access to education. One of the formidable barriers to children and adults access to quality and equitable education has been limited planning and management capacities and competent human resources especially at the sub-national level.

To address this challenge, the MoE with support from the UNESCO Kabul Office and the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) launched a National Training Programme (NTP) in educational planning and management (EPM) in 2012. The programme aimed to enhance the MoE’s planning and management capacities at central, provincial, and district levels and to ensure there are competent human resources.

To ensure sustainability and ownership of the programme, the MoE established a national team of education and planning experts, led by the then General Directorate of Planning and Evaluation, to develop the programme’s curriculum framework. The team consisted of the education and planning experts from Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Teacher Education, and Curriculum Development, and the University of Education. The NTP was initially set up as a department at the Accounting and Administration Institute (IAA) under the TVET department. Later in 2015, the National Institute for Educational Planning (NIEP) within the structure of the TVET department hosted the NTP. It is worth noting that the NIEP is currently under the purview of the TVET Authority following the establishment of the Authority in 2018 as a separate entity apart from the MoE.


The NTP is a two-year in-depth, practice-oriented training programme, which was designed following the MoE capacity development priorities to address the needs and capacity gaps in educational planning and management at the national level. It provides learning opportunities to the planning officers to acquire the key concepts and the necessary skills in EPM. The primary target group of the NTP is the MoE professional staff whose jobs relate to planning, monitoring, reporting, as well as the heads of education priority prorammes including general education, Islamic education, literacy programmes, teacher education, the heads of education offices and the managers of units. It was planned to expand the programme up to the school level.

Since its launch in 2012, the NTP has succeeded in capacity building of a considerable number of educational planning officers in EPM. To date, 614 planning officers received the two-year in-depth training in EPM from all 35 Provincial Education Departments (PED) and some District Education Offices (DEO). However, according to initial estimates, around 3,000 more education officers from 35 PEDs and 450 DEDs still need training in EPM that requires strong commitment and technical and financial support from the national government and education development partners.